Pena Palace, Portugal

Pena Palace, sitting high on a craggy outcrop in the mountains of Sintra, just a day trip away from Lisbon, is considered one of Portugal’s 7 wonders. It is an extremely unique and romantic palace, a whimsical fairytale palace – one we have wanted to visit since the moment we saw our first photograph of it. It far exceeded our expectations. Look at all of these colors. There are yellows, reds, blues, and purples! And the views from the palace over the landscape reach all the way out to the water!

Many people advised us not to visit, saying it was too touristy and we would spend hours in line! That is definitely not the way we wanted to spend our time while in Lisbon. That said, it was difficult to imagine being this close to one of the most iconic, yet colorful palaces in all of Europe and bypassing it.

So…we decided to go for it, and arranged to visit with a tour guide.

We are so thankful we did. Since we had a guide, had already arranged for entrance tickets, and we arrived first thing in the morning, we strolled right past the quickly growing very long ticket line and entered within minutes.

What a gorgeous place! Not only were the colors vibrant and clean, the views stunning, but the amount of detail in each and every part of the palace was quite unbelievable. And the stories behind each unique addition was fascinating. Again – this is where having a tour guide proved invaluable.

Just a few practical notes:

1. Try to arrive early to beat the crowds. It has become quite a popular site to visit, even in the off season. 10am to 3pm is especially busy, so try hard to get there by 9am or after 3pm.

2. Make sure to hire a guide. So often, we like to explore on our own, but we are so thankful we hired a guide. We learned so many interesting facts and saw numerous architectural details we would definitely have missed, had our sweet guide not pointed them out.

3. Getting to Pena Palace from Lisbon: You can either hire a guide/driver or you can take a combination of a train, a bus, and even a tram (or walk up the steep hill yourself on arrival after your bus ride). You could even drive yourselves, if you’ve rented a car, though that will be a bit more complicated, especially when it comes to parking! While we’re all for being independent and even saving money by doing it ourselves, there are times when it’s worth it to spend the money and splurge a bit. For us, we chose to hire a driver and tour guide, because we also wanted to make several stops on the way back to Lisbon to visit Cascais and Cabo da Roca. But more about that in the next post.

Many people will tell you it’s not worth the effort to visit, but I wholeheartedly disagree. I am so happy we made the journey! That said, had we arrived even 30 minutes later than we did, or not hired a guide, we would have encountered some pretty long lines. We were able to bypass all of them with a guide, which was wonderful!

One Comment on “Pena Palace, Portugal

  1. Pingback: Sintra, Portugal | Six Hearts One Journey

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